The hype that surrounds the Olympics Games is enough to remove anyone from reality, even it is simply for an event.
Olympians perform feats never before seen in venues that are at times so grandiose, they are almost monolithic ‘events’ in and of themselves. It is easy to get caught up in the fantasy of the games once they have begun, with the months of designing and constructing the stadia long forgotten after the opening ceremonies.
However, one industry support forum is not so quick to dispel pre-games efforts, bringing up a valuable point that speaks volumes about this modern industry and how it has the potential to perform.
Occupation, Health and Safety Online has reminded those in the construction industry that after years of large scale construction activities in the lead up to the games, not one workplace fatality occurred.
In fact, according to Leighton Holdings, the UK has an industry fatality rate that is almost half that of Australia, with predictions that it will continue to decrease.
According to OH&S online, in addition to the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) there are five key practices that were followed in the delivery of the Olympic architecture and should be used as a benchmark for all future construction projects.
In order to come up with these top five OH&S objectives, the IOSH and Britain’s Health and Safety Executive commissioned Loughborough University’s School of Business and Economics and School of Civil and Building Engineering to explore the undertakings of safety practices and guidelines implemented by the Olympic Delivery Authority throughout the entire construction process.
“The ODA’s exemplary health and safety record speaks for itself,” IOSH executive director of policy Dr. Luise Vassie says. “The techniques used were often low cost and had cross-company impact, showing that a good health and safety record isn’t out of any company’s grasp.”
The five key points as stated by the IOSH are as follows:
- Lead from the top. The ODA set standards and also visibly engaged with the workforce to direct, motivate, and change behavior by focusing on its long-term goals.
- Develop competent supervisors. Technically knowledgeable supervisors’ impact upon health and safety was important, as were communication skills to influence workers’ understanding and behavior.
- Foster an open, positive safety culture. Safety was a dominating factor of the culture.
- Reward good behavior. Incentives and rewards helped to promote and encourage safe behavior, but positive feedback was the real reward in many cases.
- Review and learn. Problems were constantly reviewed and communicated across the organization, and corrective actions were implemented.
This kind of considered learning by example is exactly the kind of OH&S leadership that is needed in Australia. With the proven results that can be achieved by implementing these simple steps, it only seems logical that they become ingrained in our modern industry practices. The Olympic construction process has proven that a modern industry can undertake even the most large-scale projects without fatalities. There is really no excuse for anything less.